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Friday, January 21, 2022

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Every week, we post seven to ten news stories from Israel with a suggested prayer focus and scripture for each one, guiding readers how to pray for Israel’s most urgent needs. This Prayer Update is also sent to over 18,000 subscribers every Friday by e-mail. Please contact us at intl.office@bridgesforpeace.com if you would like to receive this Prayer Update by e-mail.

Beijing Latest Key Player in Nuclear Negotiations, Edging Closer Towards Tehran

by Sean Savage ~ JNS

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

Tuesday, 18 January 2022 | As nuclear talks between Iran and world powers continue in Vienna, Iran appears to be already eying its next moves.

On January 14, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian visited China to discuss the 25-year cooperation agreement signed by the two countries earlier this year. That agreement aims to boost economic and political relations at the very same time the United States is looking to reduce its presence in the Middle East.

“At the beginning of the new year in 2022, I am very happy to start my first visit to China since taking office,” Amir-Abdollahian wrote on Twitter in Chinese. “I exchanged views with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on a wide range of issues, such as the comprehensive cooperation plan and the Vienna negotiations, and reached important consensus,” he said without elaborating.

The visit by the Iranian foreign minister is part of an ongoing effort by Tehran to cozy up to the Chinese. For its part, China, which is taking part in negotiations in Vienna as a member of the P5+1 (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany), appears keen on expanding ties in the Middle East, and that could undermine the ability of the Biden administration to successfully pressure Iran into dropping its nuclear ambitions.

“China’s economic investment in Iran decreases US leverage in the nuclear negotiations in Vienna by undercutting the effectiveness of sanctions,” Ari Cicurel, a senior policy analyst with the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), told JNS.

“The Biden administration has expressed a desire to shift focus towards strategic competition with China in the Indo-Pacific, but Beijing is actively strengthening its position in the Middle East. While the official China–Iran partnership agreement remains a secret, a leaked document calls for increased military, weapons development and intelligence cooperation that should alarm the United States, Israel and the Gulf states,” he said.

While the Biden administration hopes to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran has been ramping up conditions for its return, which would include removing all sanctions imposed since 2018, as well as a guarantee that a future US president would not withdraw from the deal. It has also been ramping up its nuclear program, increasing its uranium enrichment with more advanced centrifuges.

In an interview with NPR, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the world is running out of time to stop a nuclear Iran.

“We’re very, very short on time. The runway is very short,” he said. “Iran is getting closer and closer to the point where they could produce on very, very short order enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon.”

Blinken said that that the United States has “a few weeks left to see if we can get back to mutual compliance.”

With Chinese support, Iran could become even more problematic for Washington and its allies, like Israel.

“China could significantly enhance Iran’s ballistic missile and drone technologies, which Iranian proxies use to target American service members and partners in the region,” said Cicurel.

“An Iran with greater military support and weapons capabilities from China could undermine Israel’s campaign between the wars in Syria and Lebanon, and potentially make Tehran more willing and able to strike Israel by evading or overwhelming its air defenses.”

Similarly, the Chinese could provide cover for Iran to continue to ramp up its nuclear program and protect it from US or Israeli strikes.

Cicurel said “Chinese cooperation that improves Iran’s anti-access/area-denial capabilities could encourage Tehran’s confidence that breaking out to a nuclear weapon would be successful and make it more challenging for the United States or Israel to stop it.”

‘US Sanctions Enforcement Has Been Lax’

China has also become an important lifeline for the Iranian economy after the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran following its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement. At the same time, Iran has become a key energy resource for China. Last year, China imported at least 590,000 barrels of oil per day from Iran, according to Kpler, a Paris-based commodity-data provider.

Jason Brodsky, policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran, told JNS that US sanctions enforcement on Iran has been lax.

“According to United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI)’s assessment, from January to September 2021, Iran exported almost 300 million barrels of crude oil and gas condensates. That is almost 100 million barrels more than the equivalent period in 2020,” he said. “In our calculations, comparing all of 2020 to 2021, Iran increased its export total by 123 million barrels—an increase of more than 40%. China is a big part of that increase.”

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner who took office in August, appears intent on expanding Iran’s ties with non-Western countries like China in a bid to evade US sanctions. Raisi is expected to visit Russia soon, and Iran has recently struck bartering-style deals with Pakistan and Sri Lanka to sell oil and gas, reported the Wall Street Journal.

“This is, in part, why Tehran has been moving like a turtle in Vienna and has not exhibited the degree of urgency in negotiations with the P5+1. The Biden administration has said it has been tackling this influx diplomatically, but that is not the same thing as actual enforcement of US sanctions,” said Brodsky.

“The Iranian system thus far has calculated it could sustain its current stalling posture by using the Vienna negotiations to advance its nuclear program, build a resistance economy, and pivot to China and Russia,” he added.

Although Brodsky cautioned reading too much into Iran and China’s budding relationship, he noted that China is also courting partnerships with Arab states in the Middle East. In recent days, China hosted a number of Arab Gulf officials from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi also spoke last week with his counterpart in the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“Beijing will continue to carefully calibrate and balance its relations between Iran and the Gulf Arab states,” he said. “We see this in the separate trips this week of foreign ministers from the Gulf Arab states and Iran to China. However, in doing so, it is throwing Tehran a lifeline.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on January 18, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Chinese Foreign Ministry/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that these unholy alliances between known enemies of Israel do not come to fruition. Cry out to the Lord that China’s budding relationship with Iran will die on the vine and that Gulf Arab states will determine that the results of a friendship with Israel far outweigh those of being pals with China.

Scripture

Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; and those who hate You have lifted up their head. For they have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against You.


- Psalm 83:1–2, 5

Terror in Synagogues: “We Can Never Let Our Guard Down”

by Faygie Holt ~ JNS

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Michael Masters, CEO and national director of the Secure Community Network, the security arms of the Jewish Federation of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, in his testimony before the Committee on Homeland Security.

Tuesday, 18 January 2022 | The Jewish community “must be ready” and stay “vigilant and strong” to respond to any anti-Semitic incidents, emphasized Michael Masters, CEO and national director of the Secure Community Network, the security arm of the organized Jewish community.

“We are just 2% of the US population, but 58% of religiously motivated hate crimes are against Jews,” he said. “Anti-Semitism is real, and we are determined to fight it. We must commit to action.”

That action includes preparing and training members of the Jewish community—not just synagogue officials and leadership, but rank-and-file members on how to protect their building, where panic buttons are and how to contact police in an emergency.

“We can never let our guard down,” he stated.

Masters made his remarks during a press briefing on Sunday afternoon, a day after the attack on Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas. According to authorities, Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British man, took four people hostage on Saturday morning during synagogue services. The first few hours of the standoff were livestreamed as the services were being broadcast to synagogue members at the time.

One hostage was released by the gunman in the afternoon. However, as the hours dragged on, the gunman became more agitated.

As the synagogue’s rabbi, Charlie Cytron-Walker recounted on “CBS Mornings” on Monday: “It didn’t look good; it didn’t sound good. We were terrified, and when I saw an opportunity where he wasn’t in a good position, I made sure that the two gentlemen still with me that they were ready to go. The exit wasn’t too far away. I told them to go, I threw a chair at the gunman, and I headed for the door, and all three of us were able to get out without even a shot being fired.”

The gunman died as law enforcement stormed the building.

Authorities have praised Cytron-Walker for remaining calm during the 11-hour standoff, while he credits security training that he has received over the years from both law enforcement and Jewish groups, including one from SCN, with helping him know what to do.

Also speaking during the press briefing was senior national security advisor for SCN Brad Orsini, who said that “we need robust training for every one of our shuls [synagogues] across the country” because “preparedness is all we have.”

He urged synagogues and Jewish communal sites to perform drills as much as possible so that the security training becomes “holistic.”

More than 17,000 people took part in some of SCN’s training in 2021, but Orsini said that’s not enough. “Our intention is to train as many people in the Jewish community as possible. Our organization is increasing our training programs every day,” hoping to eclipse the 17,000 number this year, he explained.

Added Masters: “We need to prepare every synagogue, school, every camp across the country for these types of attacks. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the reality we live in.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on January 17, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Pray for organizations like SCN and their success in training Jewish community sites around the world to respond to attacks such as the one in Texas. Cry out to the Lord for His protection for the Jewish people worldwide as anti-Semitism continues to grow and violent incidents are on the increase.

Scripture

Consider my enemies, for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. Keep my soul, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.


- Psalm 25:19–20

It Was a Rainy Weekend

by Janet Aslin

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Rainy day in Jerusalem

Tuesday, 18 January 2022 | Rain began falling over most of Israel on Friday and did not taper off until late Sunday evening. Water rushed down Jerusalem’s streets throughout the weekend, continuing on to the Judean Desert where flood watches were in effect. Police warned residents in coastal cities not to use underground parking, and even the most southern portion of the Negev got wet.

This winter has been a bit unusual as far as rainfall goes. Israel generally receives 70% of its annual precipitation spread over the period between November and March. Although most areas have received their normal amount of rainfall so far, it has happened in two three-day periods, with a considerable number of sunny days during an abnormally warm November. The two rainy events happened on December 19–21, 2021, and January 14–16, 2022.

The most recent storm brought more rainfall, at least to Jerusalem, than December’s Carmel storm. Jerusalem received 89.6 mm (3.52 in.) last weekend, which is almost twice the 41.8 mm (1.65 in.) that fell during the December storm. Much of the country received significant amounts of precipitation.

Water levels of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) rose five centimeters (1.97 in.) over the weekend. Although the Kinneret has not yet regained the 27-year record high water mark reached in September 2020, the weekend rains are bringing those levels up again, and only 1.1 meters (3.6 ft.) remain before the lake is once again at a record high level.

Some of the precipitation was snow! Mount Hermon received 10 centimeters (3.93 in.) at its lower level and 25 centimeters (9.84 in.) at the top. This is good news for skiers and for the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) alike, as snow melting in the spring will find its way there to bring the water levels even higher.

Thankfully this weekend’s rainfall did not cause the level of damage seen in the December storm, which included three deaths and widespread flooding. However, there was flooding in several coastal cities as well as an east Jerusalem neighborhood.

Although the rainfall seems to be coming in concentrated periods rather than gradually, we are grateful for the rain and snow that come down from heaven to “water the earth and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater” (Isa. 55:10).

Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 18, 2022)

Photo Credit: Angela Storer/bridgesforpeace.com

Prayer Focus
Thank the Lord for the gift of rain. Pray that He will continue to bless Israel with ample rainfall this season but without flooding that results in property damage or loss of life.

Scripture

Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you—the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.


- Joel 2:23–24

Bennett to World Economic Forum: Iran an “Octopus of Terror and Instability”

by JNS

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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addressing the 2022 Davos World Economic Forum online

Wednesday, 19 January 2022 | Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addressed the 2022 Davos World Economic Forum virtually on Tuesday, where he urged the international community to avoid financially supporting the Iranian regime.

“Iran is an octopus of terror and instability. Their head is in Tehran, and they send their arms all across the Middle East and get involved in Lebanon with Hezbollah in Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen with the Houthis,” Bennett told world leaders.

“The last thing you want to do with this sort of octopus is pour tens of billions of dollars into this apparatus. Because what will you get? You’ll get terror on steroids. Right? Everything we’ve seen will be doubled and tripled because they’ll be much stronger,” he said.

Noting his own extensive business background, Bennett said that “I’m a businessman. I came to age as a businessman in high-tech, etc. I would say that investing in Iran is not a sound investment, whether there’s a deal or not a deal.”

Bennett’s comment came as Iran and the P5+1 world powers (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany) are engaged in talks to renew the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Iran is looking for the United States to drop all of its sanctions enacted by the Trump administration after it pulled out of the deal in May 2018.

The Israeli leader also discussed the coronavirus and dealing with the Omicron strain, the Abraham Accords and the situation in the Middle East.

“My approach is to build bridges, build bridges in the region. And I think we’ve been doing that for the past few years,” said Bennett.

“We have a common foe in the region, and that’s Iran,” he continued. “We need reasonable-minded countries, that want to fight extreme Islam, collaborating. And I think more and more regional partners are coming to see Israel as an anchor of stability in a very tumultuous region, and not only in the security sense but also in economy.”

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on January 18, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Screenshot/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Praise the Lord that “…more and more regional partners are coming to see Israel as an anchor of stability in a very tumultuous region, and not only in the security sense but also in economy.” Pray that Israel will be successful in building more bridges, securing more allies and further establishing itself as an anchor of stability.

Scripture

Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!


- Psalm 31:19

IDF Thwarts Attempted Terror Attack at Judea Junction

by Yoav Zitun, Elisha Ben Kimon ~ Ynetnews

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Gush Etzion Junction, scene of the thwarted terrorist attack

Tuesday, 18 January 2022 | Israeli troops on Monday thwarted an attempted stabbing attack at a junction in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], the military said.

The IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Spokesperson’s Unit said the alleged Palestinian assailant was shot dead while attempting to stab one of the soldiers stationed at Gush Etzion Junction.

The initial report from the IDF said: “an assailant arrived in a vehicle at the Gush Etzion Junction armed with a knife. He got out of the vehicle and attempted to stab an IDF soldier. The soldier fired towards the assailant and neutralized him.”

The military said no IDF injuries were reported and the troops were pursuing the vehicle and the driver who took the alleged attacker to the location.

Head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council Shlomo Ne’eman called the attempted attack an effort “to harm Israel and its settlements.” He thanked the IDF soldiers who foiled the attack.

Following many attacks that took place recently, especially involving lone attackers, the army made a significant change in the defense of the intersection that became the focus of friction between Israelis and Palestinians, by building more secure posts and higher vantage points.

The incident follows last week’s ramming attack in northern West bank near the settlement of Halamish, in which an accelerating vehicle struck a 19-year-old soldier and moderately wounded him.

The soldier was taken by helicopter to a hospital, and the suspect was apprehended by troops at the scene and transferred to security forces for further questioning.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on January 17, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: דוידוד/Commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Cry out to God for an end to these attacks and pray that He will safeguard the members of the IDF who are putting themselves in harm’s way to protect the lives of the people of Israel. Ask the Lord to heal and restore those that have been injured in this most recent spate of attacks, and pray that those who aided any of the perpetrators will be brought to justice.

Scripture

“Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish. You shall seek them and not find them—those who contended with you. Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a nonexistent thing.”


- Isaiah 41:11–12

Bullseye: Israel Tests Arrow-3 Anti-missile System

by Janet Aslin

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Arrow weapon system successfully engages ballistic missile target (illustrative)

Wednesday, 19 January 2022 | A test of the Arrow-3 missile defense system in central Israel early Tuesday morning was deemed a resounding success. Led by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the system’s primary developer, the exercise also included the participation of the Israel Air Force (IAF) and the US Missile Defense Agency.

The Arrow Weapons System (AWS), which includes the Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 missile interceptors, represents Israel’s first line of defense against long-range ballistic missiles. The Arrow-3, designed to intercept incoming missiles while still outside the Earth’s atmosphere, does not carry a warhead but destroys the target by crashing into it.

The Arrow-3 includes a complex system that consists of radar used to identify an incoming threat along with a firing management system that analyzes the trajectory of the incoming missile and then formulates the launch pattern needed to neutralize it.

Tuesday’s live test was the first such exercise since 2019. Improvements in the way the system detects incoming threats and prepares launch trajectories were among the breakthroughs observed.

Development of the Arrow-3 is a joint program between the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), a division of the Israel Defense Ministry, and the US Missile Defense Agency.

After the successful conclusion of the test, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said: “With every step forward, with every development, we equip the State of Israel with the capabilities to defend itself against developing threats. Our systems provide Israel with the freedom to maneuver strategically.”

Arrow-3 along with Arrow-2, David’s Sling and the Iron Dome make up Israel’s multi-layer defense system against short-, mid- and long-range missile attacks.

Given the regional threat Israel faces from Iran and its proxy terror groups, the nation cannot rest on what it has achieved so far, no matter how successful. Development on a more advanced Arrow-4 is currently underway.

Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 19, 2022)

Photo Credit: Ronite/Commons.wikimedia.org

Photo License: wikimedia.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the Lord will continue to bless Israel with the ingenuity and resourcefulness needed to expand their defense systems and ensure that the nation has the ability to defend itself against the threats it faces. Pray also that the hearts of Israelis will be turned toward the God of their fathers, acknowledging that He is their shield and defender.

Scripture

“The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”


- Deuteronomy 28:7

Report: Indonesian Officials Visit Israel Despite No Formal Relations

by JNS

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A skyline view of Jakarta, Indonesia

Thursday, 20 January 2022 | A delegation from Indonesia visited Israel recently to discuss ways to deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, despite the fact that the countries have no official diplomatic relations, Army Radio reported on Monday.

Indonesian health officials reportedly met with Israeli officials to discuss the spread of COVID-19, different variants, vaccines and other related information.

The Indonesian government denied the visit.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry did not confirm the report, noting that the country “believes in international cooperation in every regard to the fight against the coronavirus” and is willing to share information, reported the AP.

According to a report by Axios, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke about normalizing ties with Israel during a visit last month to Jakarta.

Source: (This article was originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on January 17, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Yohanes Budiyanto/commons.wikimedia.org/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Pray that the information gathered by the Indonesian delegation will be helpful in their fight against the virus. Pray also that it will be a step toward normalizing relations between the two countries and thank the Lord that Israel “believes in international cooperation in every regard to the fight against the coronavirus” and is willing to share information with the international community.

Scripture

“And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,” says the LORD of hosts.


- Malachi 3:12

Inflation Hits 10-year High in Israel as CPI, Housing Prices Edge Up

by Sonia Gorodeisky ~ Israel Hayom via JNS

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Israeli currency

Monday, 17 January 2022 | Inflation in Israel hit its highest rate in 10 years in 2021, and at 2.8% is edging closer to the 3% projection set by the Bank of Israel.

The Central Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday that the Consumer Price Index rose by 0.3% in December 2021, exceeding analysts’ projections of 0.1–0.2%.

Overall, the CPI rose by 2.8% across 2021—within the central bank’s target range for inflation of between 1% and 3%. The CBS said that significant price hikes were noted in December in apparel (1.1%), housing costs (0.8%), furniture and household equipment (0.7%) and foods (0.5%).

The price of fresh produce dropped by 2.7%, as did personal expenditure for culture and entertainment (0.8%).

The CBS further noted a 1.4% rise in the Housing Price Index during October and November.

Overall, housing prices rose by 10.6% over the past 12 months, and by 18% since January 2019.

Preliminary data released by the Bank of Israel further said that Israelis took a record NIS 116 billion (US $37 billion) in mortgages in 2021.

The figure is 50% higher than in 2020, financial daily Globes reported.

Source: (This article was originally published by Israel Hayom via the Jewish News Syndicate on January 16, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Pixabay/JNS.org

Prayer Focus
Cry out to the Lord for those in Israel who live in poverty and are the hardest hit by the current economic situation. Pray that Christians around the world will respond with great generosity, making it possible for Bridges for Peace to make sure struggling families will have enough to eat and still be able to meet their other obligations.

Scripture

He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given.


- Proverbs 19:17

Action
While rising prices are bad news for all Israelis, it is particularly crushing to those who already struggle to keep their heads above water. For poverty-stricken Israelis, the spiraling CPI has dealt a devastating blow to the bottom line, sending the cost of necessities like food, clothing and rent soaring. This spells tough choices for many: will they feed their families or pay the rent? Food or shelter? Staying warm in the winter cold or putting food in empty bellies? Bridges for Peace reaches out a hand of hope to these Israelis to ensure that they do not have to make the heartbreaking choice. We put food on empty tables to relieve the burden and help the needy through these challenging times. Will you help us help them? Your generous donation to our Food Project can mean a world of difference to Israelis in need.

Top Hamas Officials Abscond Gaza En Masse

by Elior Levy ~ Ynetnews

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A view of the Gaza Strip from Israel

Friday, 14 January 2022 | They are the top leadership of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, those who lead the armed resistance against Israel, whose words can rile up the enclave’s populace into a war fervor, despite the difficult conditions.

But at the end of the day, actions speak louder than words, and right under everyone’s nose, several of these top officials booked out of Gaza and have not returned since.

The group consists of eight figures with prominent media presence, all of which hold great sway within their respective organizations.

Over the past year, they all moved out of the decrepit and crowded streets of Gaza for safer locations around the globe, with some living in luxury and pampered by their hosts.

The first to take part in this exodus was Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s political leader abroad, who left his home in the Al-Shati Refugee Camp for the extravagant hotels in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Haniyeh justified his departure with his candidacy for the leadership of Hamas, but the election ended a few months ago. In addition, Haniyeh pressured Egyptian authorities to allow his wife and children to leave the Strip through the Rafah crossing, and they are currently living with him in opulence in Qatar.

Another key figure is Khalil al-Hayya, who until very recently served as the deputy of Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar. He left the enclave several months ago after receiving a promotion as the terror group’s head of relations for Arabic and Muslim countries.

Just like Haniyeh, al-Hayyah managed to get his family out of Gaza and move to Doha.

Others on the list include Salah al-Bardawil, a senior member of the group who, according to a Palestinian source, took a sabbatical abroad; Hamas’s mythological spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri, who has since moved up to the organization’s political bureau and veteran diplomatic advisor and personal deputy of Haniyeh Taher Al-Nunu. None of these officials are giving any signs regarding a possible return to the Strip.

But Doha is not the only destination, with Turkey becoming the new home of Hamas top man Fathi Hamad. The senior official belongs to the group’s hawkish wing, with his home base in the northern Strip, where he was responsible for many violent clashes with Israel.

Hamad used to also be the head of a private militia in charge of executing terror attacks against the Jewish state, with him constantly calling for Palestinians in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] to murder Israelis.

He moved to Istanbul in almost complete secrecy, now frequently traveling between the Turkish capital and Beirut.

The departures from Gaza did not miss the Islamic Jihad either. Two of the organization’s leaders in the Gaza Strip, Nafaz Azzam and Muhammad al-Hindi, also secretly left Gaza some time ago. Azzam is in Syria and probably also in Beirut, while al-Hindi has made Istanbul his new home.

Source: (This article was originally published by Ynetnews on January 13, 2022. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our publication today. See original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: David Berkowitz/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

Prayer Focus
Ask the Lord to reveal to the citizens of Gaza that their leaders are fleeing the country with their families and leaving them behind to fight battles that are being instigated from the safety of distant locations. Pray that it will awaken them to the fact that their leadership is not trustworthy and does not have their best interests at heart.

Scripture

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.


- Proverbs 29:2